The Face of Cassia

Chaplain Hoots in his chapel

Chaplain Merle Hoots

Face of Caring – February 14, 2021 – Valentine’s Day

While St. Valentine’s Day typically celebrates love and friendship, the holiday has Christian roots. It was named for the third-century Roman saint called Saint Valentine. He was known for compassion and kindness and in that spirit, we are dedicating our Face of Caring post today to Chaplain Merle Hoots, who works at the Baptist Health Care Center (BHCC) in Bismarck, ND. Chaplain Hoots has been leading the Baptist Health Care Center in addressing the spiritual needs of the residents, families and staff since 2014. Unique to Cassia locations, he hosts a live worship service in the Chapel every Sunday morning at 10am. While COVID has derailed the live attendance, Chaplain Hoots still worships from the Chapel and the service is broadcast on the BHCC channel to allow residents to attend services.

Several years ago, a resident’s young family member approached Chaplain Hoots to ask him if he would officiate at her wedding in the BHCC Chapel. Her grandmother was a resident who had been her foster mother. The young woman wanted her grandmother to be a part of the wedding, but knew her grandmother could not leave the center. Without blinking an eye, Chaplain Hoots said he would be happy to officiate. He always goes the extra mile for residents, families and staff. “Each day that I come to work brings an unexpected event or person into my life,” says Chaplain Hoots. “I am also privileged to be a part of a team of several hundred employees working together to care for our residents.”